Cover image for Witch hunts in Europe and America : an encyclopedia
Witch hunts in Europe and America : an encyclopedia
Burns, William E., 1959-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
xli, 359 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF1584.E9 B87 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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From early sorcery trials of the 14th century--associated primarily with French and Papal courts--to the witch executions of the late 18th century, this book's entries cover witch-hunting in individual countries, major witch trials from Chelmsford, England, to Salem, Massachusetts, and significant individuals from famous witches to the devout persecutors. Entries such as the evil eye, familiars, and witch-finders cover specific aspects of the witch-hunting process, while entries on writers and modern interpretations provide insight into the current thinking on early modern witch hunts.

From the wicked witch of children's stories to Halloween and present-day Wiccan groups, witches and witchcraft still fascinate observers of Western culture. Witches were believed to affect climatological catastrophes, put spells on their neighbors, and cavort with the devil. In early modern Europe and the Americas, witches and witch-hunting were an integral part of everyday life, touching major events such as the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution, as well as politics, law, medicine, and culture.

Author Notes

WILLIAM E. BURNS has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland, and Mary Washington College. His earlier books include The Scientific Revolution: A World History Companion (2001) and An Age of Wonders: Prodigies in Later Stuart Politics and Culture (2002).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Witches and witchcraft, taken seriously or not, are a feature of modern history. Burns's encyclopedia chronicles those circumstances and concepts where witches were taken seriously and, unlike several other recent encyclopedias about witchcraft, focuses primarily on the phenomenon of witch hunting, covering a period from the start of the 14th to the end of the 18th century. It notes differences between American and European ideas about witches. Scholarly aids include brief bibliographies after each entry and a general bibliography. Biographical and geographical entries complement topical entries. The care and research that have gone into this volume give it potential value in some European and Colonial American history courses. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Academic libraries. C. V. Stanley Washington & Lee University

Table of Contents

Alphabetical Entries